March 31, 2018

Anthony Joshua faces New Zealand‘s Joseph Parker in a mammoth unification bout in front of nearly 80,000 fans at the Principality Stadium on Saturday night.

The two unbeaten heavyweights collide for the WBA, WBO and IBF titles atop a packed bill of boxing in Cardiff that also features the likes of Anthony Crolla, David Price, Joe Cordina and Joshua Buatsi.

The man who wants to fight Joshua more than anyone else has had his say…

That’s right. Deontay Wilder, after days of silence, has spoken.

Wilder was meant to be attending the fight in Cardiff but he has confirmed that won’t be the case.

Wilder said: ‘I’m not making the trip now. I was looking forward to it,’ Wilder said during an interview with Good Morning Football.

‘Sky Sports hired me to come over and I said I’d come on one condition: If AJ wins then I would get in front of the ring, size him up and tell him I wanted to knock him out.

‘Sky Sports told me they could make it happen. They said it wouldn’t be problem then a couple of days later I get a phone call from my manager saying it’s not going to be possible. And I said I couldn’t come if it wasn’t possible.’

Wilder explained: ‘They said AJ didn’t want it to happen and had hired extra security, I even heard something about a restraining order!

‘Joshua didn’t want to hype the fight. But this is one of the biggest heavyweight title fights in history.’

JOHNNY NELSON: backs Joshua to beat Parker

Nelson, a former cruiserweight world champion and now Sky Sports pundit, gave Sportsmail the lowdown on how the pair compare when on the defensive.

He writes: Anthony Joshua is tighter in defence. The fact he is the taller of the two, 6ft 6in compared to 6ft 4in, will also suit him. Joseph Parker has worked with France’s 6ft 7in Olympic champion Tony Yoka in sparring.

He knows he will have to reach out to connect and Joshua has a long, accurate jab that can frustrate and allow him to tee up his own right hand. Most fighters need a couple of testers to find their target but Joshua works out his range very quickly.

Parker is not the tightest in defence, he likes to apply pressure by tempo. Most heavyweights run out of steam trying to keep up with him and he consistently breaks down his opponents that way, moving his feet and using quick hands to get his shots in.

It didn’t work perfectly against Hughie Fury because Fury was lighter than most and more agile, so Parker looked clumsy as a consequence. Against a true heavyweight like Joshua, though, he will look faster. Whoever controls the tempo will win this fight.

Joshua is the favourite to win tonight’s fight?

DILLIAN WHYTE: believes Joshua has the advantage…

He said: He’s just got to go and do what he does. He needs to keep clam and keep picking him off and then go for the kill.’

Dillian Whyte is picking Joshua to win tonight’s fight

The key stats ahead of tonight’s fight… Joshua has the slight edge

DIET: The diet of a heavyweight champion… what fuels Joshua?

Joshua has prepared for tonight’s fight for months. Every little detail has been taken care of, including his diet.

Parker is little more adventurous choosing to eat raw fish and meat packed high in protein, Joshua’s diet is a little more conventional.

Mark Ellison is Joshua’s nutritionist and he has given an insight into what is required to keep him building muscle but without putting on too much fat.

Ellison gives Joshua a choice of a 5,000 or 3,000-calorie menu each day.

The 3,000-calorie menu is broken down into seven meals. His main staples are chicken, steak, protein shakes and rice.

Anthony Joshua (L) and Joseph Parker (R) at Friday’s weigh-in

What sort of shape are both fighters in as we get closer to the fight?

The weigh-in on Friday reinforced what we already – that both fighters are in incredible shape.

Anthony Joshua came in a stone lighter than his last bout with Carlos Takam. That tells you how hard he has been working to improve his movement in the ring. Parker is the better mover out of the two in terms of speed but Joshua will be the quickest he probably ever has been as a professional boxer.

Joshua weighed in at 17st 4lbs – down 12lbs from when he beat Takam. Parker came in at 16st 12lbs. He has lost 9lbs since defeating Hughie Fury.

How tonight will go…

The road to undisputed begins for Anthony Joshua and Joseph Parker in a big night of fighting which will include undercard fights:

  • Alexander Povetkin vs David Price (WBA and WBO heavyweight inter-continental and international)
  • Ryan Burnett vs Yonfrez Parejo (WBA bantamweight)
  • Anthony Crolla vs Edson Ramirez (lightweight)
  • Joe Cordina vs Hakim Ben Ali (vacant WBA lightweight)
  • Josh Kelly vs Carlos Molina (vacant WBA international welterweight)
  • Morgan Jones vs Mose Auimatagi Jr (super middleweight)
  • Sean McGoldrick vs Ricky Little
  • Joshua Buatsi vs Bartlomiej Grafka



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